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House Of The Hanged (2011)

by Mark Mills(Favorite Author)
3.4 of 5 Votes: 4
0007276915 (ISBN13: 9780007276912)
review 1: I received this book as a promotional copy from the publisher through the Good Reads First Reads program. I enjoyed this book; the somewhat nonlinear arrangement and Mills' talent for compelling storytelling worked well. I found it to be a generally entertaining read. The characters ranged from complex, compelling, and well-developed to completely one dimensional. Luckily, the majority of them (including the protagonist) fall into the former category and it did not negatively impact the story by much. My biggest criticism comes from the plot itself, and is extremely hard to explain without disclosing too many spoilers. For this reason, I am going to be extremely vague. One of the plot twists, which was meant to be surprising, was not: I had it figured out from the mome... morent it was first mentioned. This sort of thing bothers me maybe more than it should, and this flaw is largely responsible for the rating of 3 stars. Ideally, I like a twisty plot or a mysterious incident to gradually provide me with subtle clues and hints throughout the course of a particular storyline. Sometimes I figure it out before the protagonist, sometimes I do not. Either way I am able to look back and put together the complete puzzle, delighting in how clever the author has been and (inevitably) discovering clues I had missed or misinterpreted. This book didn't allow me that delight and therefore failed one of my main requirements of a suspense novel. My other major complaint is, again, tricky to divulge without revealing a major plot-point. I will just say that I found some of the relationships in the story to be puerile, formulaic, and predictable. I feel bad giving House of the Hunted only 3 stars. I enjoyed it and it was, for the most part, well written and engaging. My 2 main criticisms above might not bother some readers, and I think those people will love this book. However, these issues are the reason that my rating dropped from 4 stars to 3.
review 2: I (appropriately, and not by accident) read this book on the long train ride from Scotland to the French Riviera. And while it was an enjoyable holiday read that adequately filled in all those hours that would otherwise have been spent trying to end conversations with Frenchmen who figured we now shared a special bond of friendship because they had chivalrously 'helped' me (a poor foreign damsel no doubt distressingly unfamiliar with the intricate workings of train facilities) open the toilet door onto some poor unsuspecting man just trying to pee in peace (true story). Anyway, as I was saying it was a good distraction from the journey. I did find it hard to sympathise with the main character, who, for all his espionage training, seemed very naive, overly trusting, and altogether not very good at reading people... much to his disadvantage. The randomly explicit/sexual parts that appeared every so often also seemed quite out of place, an if thrown in as an afterthought to spice up duller moments. What I did particularly enjoy was all of the political context that he threw in, sore of regarding the lead up to WWII, which was very interesting. He sets a nice scene in the south of France, and most of the characterisation and dialogue is good too. It's a very pleasant thriller by most standards, and I arrived on the Côte d'Azur definitely in the mood for an adventure! less
Reviews (see all)
It was okay, but a bit disappointing, I much preferred "The Savage Garden".
Very Evocative of the 1930's prior to WW2 Spy story with a gatsby feel
good up to the ending, i could not believe....
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